as I take care of the pupil of my eye


[photo: LS2019]

I have been corresponding with inmates at Otay Mesa Detention Center, where asylum seekers to the US are being detained. There are detainees from Mexico, Yemen, Iran, Tajikistan, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Eritrea, Columbia, and many more countries– fleeing persecution, rape, gangs, torture, police, threats to family and livelihood.  One young man from Congo, has been detained for two YEARS and 28 days.  As ICE ratchets up new raids and threatens deportations, please think about these people kept behind bars in a country (once upon a time) predicated on the idea of offering safe harbor to those fleeing persecution.  With this letter-writing system, every week you are given the name of someone in detention to write to, and all the letters (redacted) are published on-line. These letters are a life-line to those in detention separated from their families. They need to know that someone cares.  People who come to this country fearing for their lives should not be treated like criminals. Find out more here: Detainee Allies    This young man from Yemen (words below) would take care of our country like he would THE PUPIL OF HIS EYE.  What a good measure for any citizen!

Honorable Judge,

I hope that you will give me the right of protection and let me live

in this country like any citizen.

For I pledge to you that I will serve this country and will work

to build it up night and day and will take care of it

as I take care of the pupil of my eye,

and I will be a trustworthy watchman for it

and contributing member of society,

not a destructive one.

-refugee asylum seeker from Yemen, in ICE custody

and read this letter from Horacio, from Mexico to his pen pal Dora in Maine… I was so moved by this.

To Dear Dora and Otay Allies

It is a pleasure to write you and all members of Otay allies, I am so happy to receive your letters of support every week and to know that there is still people that care for the human rights nad actually still have comprehension, compassion ,and kindness. I also feel admirable towards you for you generosity every time you help me to buy my needs here in detention thank you very much for your kindness, I love to read yours letters and when you tell me about the water in Maine and the things you do every day I can imagine everything in my mind about what you do every day in your house and believe me I know where Maine is I know the names of all the states of U.S. A. in my case I used to live in a realy beautiful area close to Monterey CA, Carmel Valley, Santa Cruz is a very place places in California nice places in California where is located the Salinas valley where all of vegetables grows like lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries, artichokes and all kinds of vegetables. I don’t know if you of Clint Estwood, very good actor for the Western movies, he lives in Carmel Valley very close where I used to live, if you have the chanse to look it in google or even visit those places you will be amazed How beautiful they are. I receive the letter that you wrote me and I ma glad to know that you guys can be able to understand every single letter that all the detainees write to you guys even and knowing that there must be hundreds of languages that write to you guys Google translate is very good that’s the one I used to use every time I needed. I like the way that you send me the letter half in Spanish and half in English, for me when I was barely 16 year old I was brought to U.S. right after I started working in the field of Salinas CA my job was irrigate all of those vegetables with irrigation sprinklers that are really long and heavy but I was very happy because I was with my two older brothers, I them started going to ESL clases every afternoon after my work that how I learned som grammar I also used to love to take my younger brothers or sometime I used to go to those cities that are by the sea like Monterey, Santa Cruz just to take walks and to talk with the American people that honestly were and are very nice and kind and I remember I loved to make conversation with that people just to improve my English so that way I could practice more and more people in that area are honestly so sweet and is always are willing to help you I know that most of the American people are like that, I can say that because threw the years that I lived here I had such a good memories with the people from this country. I also must say that my situation is critic and sad I have to be truth about it it is sad the price that we “Mexico” people must pay just to be neighbor of the most rich and powerfull country of the world I say that because I see a lot of discrimination against us, like for example Mexican don’t get asylum almost never I don’t know why even knowing what is going on in that country with the cartels and all of that corrupted goberment that Mexico has all of those massive killings are happening just because they are fighting for territory why because that envolves a lot of money because this country has it. I always ask myself if Mexico will be situate where Argentina and Uruguay are it wouldn’t be that bad in crime people will be working decent it would not be all of those killings that are happening now that’s is one of my points of views. I am plenty fighting to be deported to Mexico I askin the court that I m fighting now to please try to send me to another country I have send letters to the embassis of Guatemala and else of the Panama to see if they fix something, that’s is what the deportation officer has told me to do, to try to get in contact with the consulates or embassis and ask them if they can give me what is called asylum humanitarian so I can avoid to go to Mexico or get deported again there, it is else part of my argument what I’m telling the court please send me to another country   Well Dora it is a pleasure to hear from you and also to write you every time I have the chanse I hope you can understand my situation that it is so difficult. I hope you had the chanse to listen to those wonderful songs that I mention to you in my last letter that I send you last time I hope you enjoy them, but I totally forget o mention about one other band of music of my favorites which is the Bee Gees I really love their music Barry Gibb is one of my favorites one of my favorite songs are “Alone” something in the Dark by Barry Gibb and I also know all about them Barry Gibb has a couple of CDs by himself listen to them they are wonderful I am sure they are going to like a lot. Well Dora thanks for everything and I hope for the best for you

You have a very noble kind heart, we definitely need more people like you in this world.

A++ your friend Horacio



9 Responses to “as I take care of the pupil of my eye”

  1. Louise, Thanks for making us aware of this beautiful project.  I think of the hundreds with whom I was imprisoned, especially at Safford and at La Tuna (TX), and the others I’ve known on the outside.  The eighteen year old who told me he had been coming to the U.S. since age twelve, picking fresas (he didn’t know the English word for them, strawberries, though he’d been picking them for six years).  The twenty year old whose mother had returned to Juarez from El Paso to give birth to him with her family.  Then she went back to the U.S., but he didn’t have status and was arrested many times trying to return to her after visits to Mexico.  A guard at the prison had previously been a border agent and they had known each other since he was nine.  And the villager I met in 1973 in Mexico who wrote to me in L.A. after my return here, asking if I could employ him or find work for him and two brothers.  “Somos campesinos.”  He perhaps wanted to do more for his family than he was by going to Mexico City for two weeks at a time earning in a factory and then taking a bus home on alternate Saturdays to see his family and returning to Mexico City the next day.  The guard I overheard saying to another while they were watching us in the La Tuna dining hall “They are eating here better than they did back home.”  Probably correct.  Pres. Trump, who as a child needed a wall to protect himself from his tyrannical and is still hung up on that need, and the rest of the deportation advocates, each with their stories of how they came to believe compassion was dangerous, are ready enough to send back the people, but not to send back the superprofits taken from those lands by U.S. corporations under the sponsorship of labor-suppressing local governments supported by the U.S. government and its military and political “aid.”  No fair!  But not so different from the wall between classes within the U.S., permeable to much of people’s earnings so that much of the value people create flows into the private concentrations of wealth while many people and communities suffer.  Well, enough rant.  Maybe I’ll be able to squeeze some of the real story into 150 words for the L.A. Times.  The house here still undergoing repairs, the outside just about ready for Sarah’s gardening efforts.  Hoping you and Lloyd are well.  Thanks again for the Allies story.  Joe


  2. Jon Wiener Says:

    Louise – you are awesome – thank you for this.


  3. Very moving & also heartbreaking!


  4. Jennifer Says:

    Louise: I volunteered for Festival of Books one year and you were the moderator of writers’ discussion panel. Very impressed by you and googled you and getting emails from you since. I enjoy your writing and insight, always full of humanity and compassion.
    Thank you for this particular report. It moved me deeply. I will find way to get involved.


  5. Leanne Harrison Says:

    this is so important, so interconnecting
    will forward to a number of friends
    in appreciation & gratitude


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